Broadcasting To The Stars!



Christmas Eve is a day when many people think about the legend of a star in the sky. As a nod to that, I would like to talk about the stars today, about reaching out to them. Thanks to the efforts of our own NASA and other groups, we live in an age when men fly above the earth’s atmosphere in a space station of our own design. Granted, Earth’s orbit is hardly the stars, but then again we only made it to the Moon about 40 years ago.

So how is this about radio? Listen, my children, and I shall tell you!

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum will be conducting an Amateur Radio live connection to speak with the International Space Station and astronaut E. Michael Fincke. The mastermind behind this is Ig Justyna, a member of a locally based amateur radio group. He applied to  Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) on behalf of the Museum. Mr. Justyna will be joined by Amateur Radio operator Tim Nevius in providing both the primary and back up radio systems for the radio connection.

From the press release:

The actual two Amateur Radio operators contacting the International Space Station will be Olivia Nevius and Candida Justyna. According to Ig Justyna, “The female operators underline the importance of women in Science, Technology and Amateur Radio Communications.” Both Olivia and Candida will have a panel of 13 kids who will be asking questions to astronaut E. Michael Fincke, Colonel in the US Air Force and Commander of Expedition 18. Astronaut Fincke is a multiple Veteran of space travel and on his first mission to the Space Station spent 187 days, 21 hours and 17 minutes on board. He also logged 15 hours, 45 minutes and 22 seconds of space walking time.

As someone who grew up watching Apollo missions, I absolutely love this! Space, radio, education — all my favorite things rolled up in one! That’s what I call a holiday gift!

Those in the Ann Arbor area who wish to attend should be advised that admission is $8 for everyone except children under 2, who get in free. The shindig begins at 10am on December 27 at the Anne Arbor Hands on Museum, 220 East Ann Street.  If you go, check out their new Amateur Radio exhibit!

Happy Holidays, all!

Photo courtesy of, used under its Creative Commons license


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One Response to “Broadcasting To The Stars!”

  1. Olivia Nevius Says:

    Thanks for spreading the word about the contact, we had quite a few people show up. Despite having some interference from the taller buildings around the hands on museum everything went great and we got all thirteen questions in. I would like encourage all amateur operators to try and experience this kind of event. Knowing that you can talk directly to someone that’s traveling thousands of miles away and moving at 17,000 miles and hour is amazing. Anyone can apply for a contact at their school it may just take a lot of waiting, but the experience is worth it.

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